“Snitch”: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a man who agrees to join and inform on a major drug cartel in exchange for clemency for his wrongfully arrested son. Though the film is billed as being fact based, I’d bet that veteran stunt man and director Ric Roman Waugh snuck in a few fictional explosions. Not that that’s a bad thing, Johnson with his chiseled physique and heroic chin looks especially convincing when tackling other well-muscled men though concrete walls. He also has an intelligence and vulnerability that many of his action star contemporaries don’t share. Can you imagine Vin Diesel making you care about the team he just lost in a brutal ambush? Can you picture Sam Worthington intimidating anyone? Good money’s one this movie being misfire (if it wasn’t Summit would have released later in the year) but it won’t be because the leading man didn’t show up to work, meaning no matter how bad it is, it’ll still be watchable. You just can’t say that about most Taylor Kitsch movie. Also starring Berry Pepper, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Melina Kanakaredes.
Fun fact: The film is co-written by Waugh and “Revolutionary Road” scripter Justin Haythe.
“Dark Skies”: Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton play a couple of suburbanites who are terrorized by an alien presence. Russell is an underrated talent and it’s good that she’s finally getting another leading turn after her solid performance in 2007’s “Waitress” but it’s a shame she’s being utilized in a bland looking paranormal thriller like this. After four “Paranormal Activity” movies and slate of even more uninspired imitators, 2013 should really mark the end of the resurgent possession subgenre. It’s possible that some talented newcomer could sneak in some innovation to moribund field but this movie is written and directed by serial effects abuser Scott Stewart (“Legion”, “Priest”). There’s as much chance of this movie being good as there is for Paul Thomas Anderson to take over the “Resident Evil” franchise. Also Dakota Goyo, J.K. Simmons, and Annie Thurman.
Fun fact: The film’s script was written by Stewart in six weeks.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org